How to Repair and Resurface Concrete Steps

Concrete steps are very durable, but exposure to the elements can take its toll over time, causing the concrete to crack and chip.

To repair and resurface concrete steps:

  • Use a chisel and wire brush to rough up the surface and remove any loose concrete.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dust.
  • To repair missing edges, make a wooden form to hold the concrete in place while it sets.
  • Cover surfaces that will not be repaired with masking tape.
  • Mix acrylic fortifier with Quick Setting Cement in a bucket, stirring it with a mixing paddle chucked in a drill. The acrylic fortifier increases bonding between the surfaces.
  • Apply the mixture to the steps to fill any gaps, smoothing the cement as it sets.
  • Once the material has set, apply a thin layer of concrete resurfacer to the top of the steps.
  • Smooth the resurfacer, and add texture with a stiff brush to prevent slipping.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Danny Lipford: This week we’re looking at a number of repairs that you may be facing on the outside of your home. We’ve already looked at concrete driveways, asphalt driveways, but there’s another surface that a lot of homeowners have challenges with, and that’s concrete steps.

Now, this house is owned by a friend of mine, Brad, who bought it recently. It’s a 75-year-old house, plenty of little projects around here to do. But he’s well underway with a project to make his stairs look a heck of a lot better, and be a lot safer.

Before he started, the concrete caps around these brick stairs were cracked, chipped around the edges, and even the landing at the top was missing large chunks of concrete. Brad is the director of photography for our show, so he grabbed a copy of the Quikrete Guide to Concrete from our library and did some homework on this kind of repair.

The first step was roughing up all the surfaces with a chisel and a wire brush to give the repair material a good surface to grab onto. For some of the larger voids, he even had to create forms to support the repair material; which, in this case, is a quick setting cement mixed with an acrylic fortifier.

Then everything was cleaned to remove the dirt, debris, and dust. This mix is stiff, so it can be sculpted as it goes in. The acrylic fortifier improves bonding to existing surfaces, so this repair will last.

As it hardens, he’s able to work it more and more to get exactly the shape he needs, so that when the forms come off, the color is the only indication that there was ever a repair. We’re about to correct that.

Danny: Pretty good job on all of these, all of these corners. And you were able to kind of support all of these, but that always, someone comes down and breaks it out like that, it seems like.

Brad: Right, most of these, most of these posts were sort of dug out, you know erosion over the years. And that helped a lot to sturdy it up some. It looks a lot better, but you can still see that it’s very discolored, so that’s gonna be . . . resurfacing it is gonna sort of blend it all together.

Danny: All right, okay. So what, you want to mix, you’ve got the mixer here?

Brad: Yeah, the paddle bit’s already on it.

Danny: You pour, I’ll do this hard part. Dang, this thing is big enough to do a 55-gallon drum with it!

We’re mixing the resurfacer a bit thicker than normal because we have vertical surfaces to cover. And, in this small space, we’re using a wooden float to spread it, instead of a squeegee.

Brad: I’ve never done this before, so don’t be too critical.

Danny: No, just go thin.

It takes a little getting used to at first because the material doesn’t flow too well when it’s this thick, and working around these rails is a bit of a trick. But eventually we get the hang of it, and Brad starts coating the vertical surfaces with a masonry brush while I work on the horizontal.

Brad: It’s working out. I was a little nervous on that top step, but I think once it dries and we’re able to scrap it off. . . .

Danny: No worries, that’ll be all right.

All of the masking Brad did in advance really pays off, because it’s difficult to be very precise about where this stuff goes. As we get each step coated, we’re also using the brush to add a textured finish to the surface, so it’ll be safer to walk on than the old slick surface.

And you want to do this, and any last minute touch-ups, before the resurfacer completely cures. It’s also a good idea to remove the masking before it dries, so there’s no chipping when it comes off.

Danny: All right, let’s see Brad. We might as well start getting this off. You’re gonna have a few crumbs there on it for a little while. But that’ll sweep right off, cause it’s dried.

Brad: Yeah, it’s pulling off pretty clean.

Danny: Yeah, there you go. Lower it . . . lower it down. Yeah, like that, that’s less resistance. Yeah, there you go. You’re good . . . go on with it.

Brad: Cool. This looks great, Danny.

Danny: Sure does.

Brad: It looks awesome.

Danny: You’ll be able to do all the steps in the neighborhood, pick yourself up a little extra money.

Brad: I hope not!

Danny: Do one every Saturday.

Brad: I think one set is enough for me.

Additional Ways To Update Concrete Steps

If you need to freshen up the appearance of your concrete steps, there are several ways to achieve this. Common techniques include applying color, adding texture, and combining other materials. Below, we discuss a few methods for refreshing the look of concrete steps.


The simplest and least expensive option to improve the look of concrete steps is to clean them. Concrete steps tend to be outdoors, so they get pounded with dirt, grime, and wear from foot traffic.

The good news is that concrete accepts cleaning very well, and usually, the results are dramatic. Professionals hired to clean concrete steps normally use a gas-powered pressure washer. A pressure washer is essentially an air compressor connected to a water supply. The compressor builds up pressure to force the water through a special spray tip. The pressure is also adjustable, so the pros will assess how much is required to remove the dirt and adjust it accordingly. This often eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and manual scrubbing.

Pressure washing is usually the first step in concrete improvement projects, such as refinishing, resurfacing, and staining. However, pressure washers can be hazardous, so great care must be taken to avoid personal injury.


Staining can have a considerable visual effect on concrete steps. Concrete stains are available in various shades to complement the surrounding masonry. Stains generally penetrate the top layer of concrete, so professionals will often apply the stain in a test area to determine the desired effect.

Concrete stains color the surface permanently, so when in doubt, a lighter shade is recommended. This way, the color can be more closely controlled because additional applications tend to deepen the shade. Starting out with a thin coat is safest, especially if the stain contains a darker pigment.

Choosing the correct finish can also affect the color. Some concrete stains are opaque, while others are more translucent, so care should be taken to select the correct one for the desired shade.


Painting concrete steps has been the go-to solution for ages, especially on older concrete. It may seem odd, but concrete can take decades to cure completely.

Decades-old concrete steps tend to become very dense as they cure. This effect can cause stains to sit on the surface instead of soaking into the concrete. In these situations, concrete paint might be the best solution.

Concrete paint is designed to bond to the surface with polymers and other chemicals to improve adherence. Painting concrete steps also tends to smooth out and cover small blemishes. You can disguise small chips and scratches with paint because it’s thicker than stain and can be layered for the desired effect.

Concrete paint is very durable and is often based on petroleum products, as opposed to regular house paint, which is usually water-based.

These concrete paints do a great job but often require much more drying time and ventilation than water-based products. Other methods, such as adding texture, are also available to augment this process.

Adding texture to concrete paint is quite common. When a concrete pad is poured, it is often finished to a very smooth surface. This can be problematic, however, when the concrete is wet, making the surface very slippery.

Depending on the application, many installers will “broom” the surface to roughen very smooth surfaces. As the surface hardens, a broom is pulled across the moist surface creating small scratches. This roughens the surface, making it less slippery even in icy conditions.

Another common option to increase friction is adding coarse sand to the paint. As the paint hardens, it encapsulates the sand and forms a rougher surface, similar to brooming.


Resurfacing concrete steps is the process of replacing the original surface with a new material. This can be done by do-it-yourselfers using a variety of available kits, or a professional can be hired. The process is generally the same either way.

Resurfacing concrete steps often involves pressure washing, then applying a bonding agent to the old surface. These bonding agents essentially create a “hot bond” between the old concrete and the new material. This is necessary because as concrete cures over time, it tends to become less receptive to chemical reactions. If new concrete is poured directly onto old concrete, the chemical bond between the two is usually weak and will often result in cracking and flaking as the new concrete hardens.

The bonding agent essentially improves the ability of the old concrete to adhere to a new layer, preventing problems later. Once the old concrete has been prepared for a new surface, the pros will often apply a new thin layer of cement to fill cracks and gaps to give the old steps a new look.


In addition to creating a new surface, colors can be added to the resurfacing material to augment the new look. These colorants usually come as a powder, which is added to the dry resurfacing material. This allows the color to become part of the material instead of lying on top of it. This also tends to extend the life of the steps because small blemishes, such as chips and cracks, are less noticeable.

Add Additional Materials

If you want to completely change the appearance of concrete steps, adding additional materials is often the best method. In this method, the concrete steps essentially become the base for tiles, brick, or other materials. This solution is popular because it exploits the ability of concrete to bond to other masonry.

Concrete steps are typically poured using forms, which gives the steps their shape. This flat surface is ideal for adding slate, tiles, bricks, or other masonry materials. Even stones and pea gravel are often applied to existing concrete to give the surface new life and restore its integrity.

In some situations, non-masonry products can be added to concrete steps. Newer construction uses synthetic, renewable materials to improve the look of older concrete. For example, synthetic decking boards can be installed onto existing steps, often providing a coarser surface that makes old steps less slippery.

Some creative builders have used these renewable materials to solve this problem and add color and uniqueness to the project. Professionals will often stain or paint the steps a solid color and then add a complimentary colored decking board to the tread for contrast. This method often results in not only repairing issues with the original steps but also adding visual interest to an otherwise simple design.


  1. I need your expert opinion on how to fix a side step which is just a concrete slab exiting my home onto the concrete driveway. It’s a bit of a drop to land on the step and to make matters worse, the step is at a slant.

    I think that there is enough of a drop to the concrete that warrants 2 steps when exiting the home. Aesthetically, I would like to change it up to match the front entryway with red bricks.

    Please help! Thank you for your time!

    Best Regards,

    • Hi, Yvonne,

      Danny says, “Masonry repairs and mods like this would really need the on-site advice of an experienced brick mason / concrete man. It’d be very hard for us to advise the right approach to this without seeing it. You’re welcome to send pictures.”

      Good luck!

  2. I have seen mint flooring down in my laundry room and it is about 50 years old I’m I would like to know that keep us in the easiest way to fix it so I can lay some tile

  3. Hi!

    I see where you talked about filling holes with the concrete, a mold, and the acrylic. I am just wondering on how to fix my current issue. My porch is a cement slab that I just removed broken and loose tile from. There are premade cement steps that the previous owner put up to the slab porch. Unfortunately, they don’t meet. The top step is about 2 inches shorter than the porch, which is awkward and ugly. When the previous owner tiled the porch, they slanted the tile on that discrepancy and it looks like they tried to file the cement underneath and they glued instead of grouted that tiles. Anyways, I’d like suggestions on what to do with that gap or resurfacing the steps and porch to either refinish, add brick, or tile the porch. The edges of the steps are rounded, to make things worse. Would you suggest building a mold to fill that hole and bring the top step level with the porch.

    Thank you so much for any advice!! I’ve had a lot of trouble with contractors and really prefer to do as much as I can myself.

  4. My front stoop is in need of repair or replacement. I have four step concrete. The water has gotten under the first one so it’s raised a little and I have wrought iron that has rusted. Can this be repaired or should I look at replacing the entire stoop

  5. I have concrete steps that need to be resurfaced. Is resurfacing a lasting fix if I hire a masonry contractor?

    • Hi, Janice,
      Whether you hire a masonry contractor or do this job yourself, nothing lasts forever.
      But the good news is you should be able to enjoy your resurfaced concrete floors for anywhere from eight to 15 years.
      Good luck with this project!

  6. Hi Danny, I need to repair my front step railing. At the bottom the concrete has broken off. What can I do to fix it. Do I need a masonry

    • Hi, Brenda! We’ll need more details to understand what happened, please.
      In the meantime, we’re always looking for homeowners to call into our radio show and ask questions directly to Danny and Joe.
      We’ve reviewed your question and shared it with our radio producer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here